Sunny Day Real Estate
How it Feels to be Something On
Flashback, 1993. Hardcore music is entering into a new era where rock-n-roll is no longer a forbidden fruit. Instead it is the new staff of life. With the release of Quicksand’s Slip album, the rules had somehow gone all to Hell. Enter a band of kids from the grunge infested Seattle scene. Playing a music that was equal parts Shudder To Think and pre-arena U2, Sunny Day Real Estate released Diary in ’93 to a chorus of “Stand back!!! (Razor blade poised at wrist) I’m really gonna do it this time!” The emotion this band played with was something rarely seen since the D.C. revolution summer, and the kids slept peacefully that night, knowing that finally somebody got it right.
Flash forward, 1994. The band that broke down boundaries and made kids cry along with them at shows succumbs to a religious episode by singer Jeremy Enigk. A posthumous album is released the next year, and while the music is right on, the spirit just doesn’t seem to be there. The rhythm section goes on to join Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters, and Jeremy Enigk later releases an album that answers the eternal question, “What if John Lennon had lived in post-grunge Seattle?” Rumors are flying on the Internet about a possible reunion, but most discount it as mere speculation and wishful thinking.
Let’s go back to 1998. Sunny Day Real Estate is back with a new album that is forward reaching but still holds fast to the tradition of beauty that was established before. Many upon many naysayers are discounting this album for a lack of noisiness. Maybe I am getting old, but I think we can do without. From the first glance at the artwork to the final drum outro, this album is impeccable. Each melody seems to etch its self indelibly into your memory. “Pillars” starts things off, and it really has something going, each song does for that fact. “The Prophet” gives a nod to Dead Can Dance with a chanted intro making it memorable, hopefully the Sunny Day fans are up for some Goth/world music. The art of interesting song titles is alive with “The Sharks Own Private Fuck,” which has a tasty little bass intro courtesy of new bassist J. (John? Jeremy?) Palmer. My personal favorite song so far, “Days Were Golden,” closes the record. The chorus melody is haunting in the way a Beatles tune sometimes is. It catches in my mind like I’ve heard it a million times before. This album is both subtle and beautiful. The only real rocker here is “100 Million,” which has a neat pausing rhythm. However… just because it doesn’t rock as much as the two older albums, doesn’t mean it won’t knock you over in some other ways. I hope the naysayers don’t keep people away from this one. Sub Pop Records, 1932 First Ave., Suite 1103, Seattle, WA 98101; http://www.subpop.com